It is that time of the year when parents need to fill out the free and reduced lunch form for their children. Even if your school is one of the schools that receives free food for everyone, you may still want to receive the eligibility letter, because of other benefits it may offer. Your student may be able to receive free SAT tests, free ACT tests, waived college application fees, and free swim lessons.
What You Can Use The Free and Reduced Lunch Eligibility Letter For:
- Free or reduced-priced breakfast and lunch for your students at their school
School students can use the reduced/free lunch eligibility letter to
get a waiver for two FREE SAT tests and 2 FREE ACT tests per year.
- High School students can use the reduced/free lunch eligibility letter to get a college application fee waiver
- You get to send your SAT and ACT scores to the colleges for FREE.
- Students who are eligible for the SAT/ACT Waiver are also eligible to get the NCAA Eligibility Center fee waived
- St. Johns County students up to age 12 can use the reduced/free lunch form to get a week of FREE swim lessons through the YMCA - classes will be at the Solomon Calhoun Center.
- You can get a discount on your Internet or a free tablet with Internet for a year through the Emergency Broadband Benefit program if your child qualifies for free or reduced lunches.
If you have filled this form out in the past and qualified, or if you receive other services for your children such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) you may likely receive the eligibility letter in the mail automatically, or you may receive a call from food and nutrition services, but if you do not, you should fill out the St. Johns County free or reduced meals form online or call the school district's food and nutrition services department to receive your eligibility letter, even if your school provides free lunch to all their students.
If you are thinking about homeschooling your children, you may want to fill out the free and reduced lunch form just to receive the eligibility letter, because receiving free or reduced lunch at school comes with more than just free food at school. You can also get the SAT fee waiver by contacting a local high school counselor, but you will have to provide your family's tax returns or show enrollment in one of the assistance programs. Read more about the SAT fee waiver for homeschooled students here.
According to the St. Johns County School District, students who are
enrolled at the following Community Eligibility Provision schools
do not need to complete an application for free or reduced meals, because
all students at these schools eat at no cost.
- Crookshank Elementary School
- Gamble Rogers Middle School
- Otis Mason Elementary School
- Murray Middle School
- Osceola Elementary School
- Sebastian Middle School
- South Woods Elementary School
- St. Johns Technical High School Transitions Program
- Webster Elementary School
You can call the St. Johns County School District at 904-547-7500 or use the St. Johns County School District contact form here.
How You Can Use The Free And Reduced Lunch Eligibility Letter:
- If you have a student ages 3 - 12 and under, you can use the free or reduced eligibility letter to get a free week of swim classes through the YMCA. Simply bring the letter to the YMCA at St. Augustine Beach, ask for the Safety Around Water program, and sign your child/children up for a class, if they have any availability - classes fill up quickly.
- If you have a high school junior or senior, and your student qualifies for free or reduced lunch, it is essential that you receive your free or reduced lunch eligibility letter. Not only will your student be able to use this letter to receive 2 free SAT tests and 2 free ACT tests, but he or she will also be able to get the college application fees waived at many colleges.
- The SAT test costs $55 and the ACT test costs either $60 without the writing portion or $85 with the writing portion.
- Save on Your College Applications: Most colleges charge application fees ranging from $20 - $100, but according to data collected by US News the average college application fee among 936 colleges surveyed was $44.
- The SAT Fee waiver comes with more than just the fee being waived because if you do not have it, there are a lot of extra fees in addition to the $55.
- Some colleges, that do not participate in the fee waiver program from the College Board, may still offer students a college application fee waivers if you show them the actual reduced and free lunch eligibility letter or otherwise prove that you are eligible.
- Students eligible for the SAT/ACT Waiver can also get the NCAA Eligibility Center fee waived. This fee is usually $90.
- Keep your letter safe and make a copy, but if you lose your letter, you can call the St. Johns County School District to request another one.
- See how you can get $50 off your Internet through the Emergency Broadband Benefit program
Check out the SAT Fee Waiver benefits here.
How To Get Your College Application Fee Waiver + SAT and ACT Fee Waiver:
- Go see your college counselor and ask for the SAT, ACT, and College Fee Waiver form.
- Provide the counselor with your eligibility.
- If you are at SAHS contact the College and Career Counselor Mrs. Eakins.
- St. Johns County students - don't forget to check your Schoology accounts and emails often, there are lots of deadlines coming up in your junior and senior years of high school.
- You can set up an appointment with your SAHS counselor from the main website or find the St. Augustine High School guidance counselors' contact info here, but most of them are off until August 9th, 2021.
Now, if you are a rising college senior, I cannot emphasize the need to get this done as soon as possible. Make sure to check out the post on FREE SAT Prep at Khan Academy.
Get more college tips here at the St. Augustine Connection.
I am not a guidance counselor. I am a mother of five, who has recently been through senior year with my oldest son. He made it through, and so will you. We owe Mrs. Smith at SAHS, my son's Algebra 2 honors math teacher a big thanks because without her we would not have known about the SAT fee waiver program. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment on this post, and if you have any college tips please pass them on.
Coming soon I'm a High School Senior, Now What? (Or should it be, I Have a High School senior, now what?) So come back soon to read more College Tips and check out the Free Educational Resources in our community here. All of our children should be able to go to college without going into debt if this is the path they choose.
* This piece was originally posted on the West Augustine News Connection on July 28, 2021.
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